March is around the corner and with it comes everyone’s favorite high-stakes testing program the CMT’s. Regardless of opinion surrounding the CMT’s and their effect on schools and students there is going to be another round of testing shortly after returning from vacation. Classroom teachers have been working hard since September to mentally prepare our students. Through physical activity and exercise our students can take this preparation to higher levels.
Dr. John Ratey, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, has found incontrovertible evidence that aerobic exercise physically transforms the brain for peak performance. In Ratey’s book "Spark," he demonstrates how physical activity, aerobic exercise improves mood, attention and ability to learn while lowering stress and anxiety. The effects of exercise on the body itself is a widely talked about topic while the effects of exercise on the brain and disposition are left aside. Parents need to know that getting your kids moving for an hour a day has benefits to their brains as well as their body.
During the CMT testing period, when students’ brains are challenged on a daily basis to perform at its highest level, let’s give those students every advantage. If an advantage can be gained through physical activity, as Dr. Ratey has proven, parents and schools need to find a way to get more physical activity into every day. This could be accomplished through a run before school, activity in the morning at school, recess prior to testing, or breaks throughout the testing day to run outside or up and down a staircase. The afternoon following a long day of testing shoud be filled with as much physical activity as possible in effort to revitalize the body, brain and spirit.
The CMT'S are coming, let's give our students as much of an advantage as possible through increased physical activity.